Beachy becoming more and more dependable

The Sports Xchange
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Right-hander Brandon Beachy pitched six innings Friday, throwing 98 pitches and allowing only four hits but three earned runs. He left with a 5-3 lead in the game the Braves eventually lost 8-6 to the Dodgers. While he got another no decision, he has not lost a game since July 19.

His performance is suddenly more critical than it might have been: the Braves' post-season rotation could be veteran right-handers Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe and ... Beachy.

As general manager Frank Wren put it, "That's not how we drew it up. But I'm still optimistic that we'll be in good shape pitching-wise."

His name isn't mentioned with the Braves' rookie of the year candidates, right-handed closer Craig Kimbrel and first baseman Freddie Freeman. But Beachy is unflappable. And he has three starts against the Phillies to prove it. He made his major league debut in Citizen's Back Park last September 20 in place of, ironically, injured right-hander Jair Jurrjens.

Right-hander Jair Jurrjens was on his way to Vail, Colorado by the time Friday's game ended, heading for a weekend consultation with Dr. Richard Steadman. Jurrjens' leg strength ran out after the All-Star break, leaving him unable to push off on his arthroscopically repaired right knee, lowering his velocity by at least five miles an hour, and sometimes more. An MRI Wednesday revealed a bone bruise, not any damage to the repaired meniscus. Jurrjens is taking those films for Steadman's review. He is determined not to miss a second consecutive post-season, but he may not have a choice.

Right-hander Tommy Hanson may not have a choice, either, but as in Jurrjens' case, that remains to be seen.

Hanson tossed before batting practice Friday, two sets of 30 at a distance of 60 feet. He felt good afterwards, and if that feeling lasts into Saturday, he'll try that exercise again.

"I'm very hopeful that Tommy can turn it around and get ready," Wren said after Hanson's session. "We've got to get him going quickly so he can get stretched out. And JJ, we'll wait and see."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was already planning on calling up a pitcher from Triple-A Gwinnett -- either right-hander Randall Delgado or right-hander Julio Teheran -- to start one of the games of the September 8 doubleheader against the Mets. Now, both of them will be making starts this week: Delgado this Sunday in place of Jurrjens, then Teheran in the doubleheader.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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